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Now that you know some of the basics of crank baiting, lets
look at when and where you should be looking to use crank baits. Just
about every situation can be attacked by using a crank bait. The key
is to find which style of crank bait to use at each given time. As
discussed in the previous article, there are many different styles,
each designed for certain tasks. Also, remember that because of these
differences, such as bill size and shape, these crank baits will go
through certain types of cover better than others.
When fishing along riprap, I like to start by casting at an angle to the shore, up river. This will help me to locate at which depth the active fish are located. When I find the active fish, I will position my boat parallel to the shore and cast up river. This allows me to keep my bait in the strike zone for the longest period of time. Remember to adjust your crank bait size to maintain bottom contact.
With wing dams, I will tend to work perpendicular to them. I
will again start on the bottom end and work my way up. When talking to
many people, they will say that the active fish will position on the
up riverside of the wing dam. While this is true, do not forget to
work the down riverside of it. I have caught numbers of big fish below
the wing dam in the slack water area. Extra caution needs to be used
when fish wing dams like this. First of all, you need to slow down
your retrieve when coming up the face of the wing dam; otherwise you
will get hung in the rocks. Secondly, if you are not careful, your
trolling motor and your big motor can take a beating in the rocks. For
these reasons, I urge you to use caution.
Rip Rap and Sunken Rock Humps
Rock humps on the main lake are a great place to look for
bass. Many anglers will not fish these and as a result, they can hold
some high quality fish. Good electronics and lake map will make this a
lot easier. If these rock humps are relatively shallow, I will try to
work the outside edges first, to see if the fish there. After working
the outer edges, I will throw a crank bait along the top. A suspending
jerk bait can be deadly on rock humps at certain times, so do not be
afraid to try one out.
If you are fishing a flat covered by timber, I will try to
start by locating hump, or ditches on the flats and work those areas
first. Patches of wood on the flat, or an area with something just a
little different tend to hold more fish than a large area that is all
the same. Do not hesitate to fish an isolated stump, as they will
sometimes hold some of the bigger fish in an area. When I find a tree
that is laying n the water, from the shore, I will work the outer
edges first and then probe the inside, working to the trunk of the
tree. If you go for the heart of the tree first you may either get
snagged and scare the others away, or catch one and have the same
result. By fishing outside in, you target the aggressive fish first
and work in to the less aggressive fish.
Edges and Flats
With the weed flats, a shallow running crank bait, like the
Mannís Baby Minus, or a Rattle Trap, work great here. Like before,
it is important to keep in contact with the weeds. A quick snap of the
rod will remove most weeds and will many times trigger a strike from
an area bass. This technique does not work well in junk weeds like
slime and some of the really thick weeds. I have found it to work
really well with eelgrass and coon tail and new milfoil.
When you are out in your favorite body of water next time,
spend some time trying some of these things out. You may be pleasantly
surprised with the results. It is also a great way to change up from
what the fish as conditioned to seeing on many lakes, the repetition
of jigs, spinner baits and soft plastics.
Tight Lines and God bless